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A4e another can of worms?

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Guest pelmetman

Police investigating claims of fraud have arrested four former employees from the company which holds the Government's welfare-to-work contracts.

The fraud allegations were referred to Thames Valley Police by the Department for Work and Pensions.

"As part of the investigation, four people, two women aged 28 and 49, and two men, aged 35 and 41, were arrested on suspicion of fraud on January 18 from addresses across the Thames Valley," a police spokesman said.

All four have been released on bail until a date in mid-March.

The Government has been urged to suspend its contracts with A4e after the revelations surfaced that it had referred former employees' activities to police.

Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs (BSE: MPSLTD.BO - news) there should be a "thorough" investigation.

"It needs to get to the truth and then we can take into account its findings," the Prime Minister said.

He said the allegations went back to a scheme run under the previous Labour government.

"As I understand it was the company itself that raised the issue with the relevant authorities," he added.

The company, which has offices in Slough, is chaired by Emma Harrison CBE, who was appointed by Mr Cameron in 2010 to help get troubled families into work.

Its (Euronext: ALITS.NX - news) five shareholders were paid £11m in dividends last year, of which Ms Harrison received 87%.

On her personal website, the mother-of-four describes herself as "one of the UK's most well-known and successful social and philanthropic entrepreneurs".


Another pseudo private company funded by the taxpayer *-)


PS whats 87% of £11m?

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Guest pelmetman
flicka - 2012-02-22 8:27 PM


Come on Dave

Or do we guess why you don't work to earn more than you need. ;-)


87% of £11m is £9.57m


87% of £10m = £8.7m

+ 87% of £1m = £0.87m


Thanks John ;-)...............I was just wondering how much the tax payer needs to pay you before you become philanthropic.................£9.57m?....well I don't need to feel guilty about not being very philanthropic this year (lol) (lol)....................


On her personal website, the mother-of-four describes herself as "one of the UK's most well-known and successful social and philanthropic entrepreneurs".

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Guest pelmetman

By Rowena Mason, and Mark Hughes10:00PM GMT 22 Feb 2012

Fiona Mactaggart, the MP for Slough, wrote to the director of the SFO asking for an inquiry into A4e, as it emerged the company has been at the heart of five serious investigations into financial irregularities since 2005. A spokesman for the SFO confirmed it would look into any concerns raised by an MP to see whether it is an appropriate case to take on.

These inquries led to thousands of pounds being repaid to the Government and one criminal conviction for a former employee.

In the current investigation, officers from Thames Valley police have already arrested and bailed four former members of staff at A4e, which handles millions of pounds in Government contracts to help unemployed people find work.

Last night, it emerged the probe is widening, as police sources contradicted A4e’s claim that the investigation relates solely to four former employees.

The Daily Telegraph understands that officers from Thames Valley Police are focussing on the “business practices” of the company as a whole.


A4e also admitted it is subject to a second police investigation into a sub-contractor, which began in February 2011.

A fifth member of A4e staff was questioned by Thames Valley officers under caution yesterday afternoon. The woman, who has not been named, was released last night and was not arrested.

It is understood the woman is not Emma Harrison, the Prime Minister’s “back to work” tsar, who was recently criticised for taking £8.6million in profits out of the company in a dividend. Ms Harrison owns more than 80 per cent of the company and is its chairman.

Mr Cameron was yesterday under pressure to suspend Government ties with A4e, but he told the House of Commons that he would “take things into account” after a thorough police investigation.

His official spokesman backed Mrs Harrison by saying she had been “appointed to that role to help us with a number of pilots is because of the expertise she could bring”.

A4e is based in the Slough constituency of Mrs Mactaggart, the MP who yesterday wrote to the Serious Fraud Office asking for it to undertake an investigation.

Mrs Mactaggart said in the letter: “Since there has been publicity about these matters, people who have been clients of or have worked for A4e in other parts of the country have been in touch with me, suggesting that the pattern of behaviour I have identified is not limited to my constituency.

"I think that the Serious Fraud Office, therefore, should conduct an investigation into the extent of fraud at A4e. I have reported to the National Auditor issues such as forged time sheets, claiming for jobs that last only 24 hours and courses not delivered."

She is sending a "dossier" to the SFO for it to consider. An SFO spokesman said: “It is certainly SFO policy to take seriously any allegations put before us and should something come to us on this matter we will look at it seriously."

Last night, Andrew Dutton, chief executive of A4e, said there was no evidence of any systemic fraud at the company.

“In our 20 year history we have one case of a former employee having been convicted of fraud," he said. "To claim that there is a systemic problem is simply without foundation. A4e is subject to regular internal and external audits and we operate openly and transparently.

"I will not sit by and let these accusations discredit the hard work that our staff do to support thousands of people into work.

"A4e has zero tolerance towards fraud, and any instance of fraudulent or otherwise illegal activity is completely unacceptable. We take our responsibility very seriously, and we are committed to using taxpayer’s money effectively and efficiently to deliver the best services to the public.”

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said the Government has "reminded A4E of their contractual obligations".

"If there is evidence of systemic fraud in either current or past contracts, we will not hesitate to terminate our commercial relationship with them," he said.


Looks like they're safe......................the SFO is involved now (lol) (lol)

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